Rafael Nadal ‘completely destroyed’ but triumphant after ‘aggressive’ Denis Shapovalov comeback
Rafael Nadal came close to suffering an agonising defeat from two sets to love up but was able to hold off 22-year-old Denis Shapovalov and secure his seventh career Australian Open semi-final.
After going down two sets Shapovalov showed great fight to recover and force a decider under the sweltering Melbourne sun.
But in the end Nadal withstood the Canadian’s pressure to clinch victory 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 to secure a 36th career Slam semi-final.
In the post-match interview, Jim Courier asked Nadal just how he was able to come through such a tough encounter.
“I don’t know honestly,” a bemused Nadal responded.
“I’m completely destroyed after that.
“I was a little bit lucky at the beginning of the fifth set.
“At the beginning of the match I was playing great, then I know how difficult it is to play against a player like Denis [Shapovalov].
“He’s very talented, very aggressive, he was serving huge, especially the second serve.
“For me it’s amazing honestly to be in the semi-finals.”
The new scheduling for the Australian Open means that while in the past the men’s semi-finals were split across Thursday and Friday, this year they will both be played on Friday.
That means Nadal will have two days off to prepare for his last four tie, which Courier asked the Spaniard about.
“Today, yes, it’s very important!” Nadal admitted about the welcome rest.
“I am not 21 anymore, so after this match it’s great to have two days off.”
On Friday, Nadal will face either fellow veteran Gael Monfils or Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the championship match.
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